Alexander, Frist Applaud HELP Committee Reauthorization of Ryan White Care Act

Posted on May 18, 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) made the following statements after the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, of which they are both members, reported to the full Senate on Wednesday S. 2823, the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Modernization Act of 2006, legislation to reauthorize the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resource Emergency Act (RWCA). “The Ryan White CARE Act has played a crucial role in providing essential care and support services to those living with HIV and AIDS in Tennessee,” Frist said. “Key revisions that strengthen this bill will ensure that funding increases are targeted to communities most affected by this devastating disease, such as Nashville and Memphis. Senator Alexander and I have worked very hard on this issue, and I look forward to sending the legislation to the President’s desk very soon.” “The reauthorized Ryan White CARE Act reflects the fact that the geography of HIV and AIDS is spreading, and states like Tennessee have higher incidences than we’ve had in the past,” Alexander said. “This bill will provide increased funding for those communities in greatest need, particularly Nashville and Memphis. Senator Frist has shown real leadership in the reauthorization of this legislation. I’ve been proud to work with him to ensure that Tennesseans living with HIV and AIDS can have the medical care and drugs they need to live longer, healthier lives.” The bill reported by the HELP Committee would ensure increased funding for communities across the state of Tennessee. According to the bill’s formula, Nashville alone could receive a funding increase of approximately $1.1 million next year, and Memphis could receive an additional $1.3 million in 2007. Frist played a key role in previous reauthorizations of RWCA. During the last reauthorization in 2000, Frist helped secure additional funding for Memphis and Nashville to assist these cities in responding to increased numbers of HIV/AIDS cases. RWCA was enacted in 1990 to respond to the needs of individuals and families living with HIV or AIDS. In fiscal year 2006, over $2 billion in funding was provided through RWCA to assist states and metropolitan areas in providing health care services to AIDS patients. Funding is distributed according to a jurisdiction's reported count of AIDS cases. Ryan White contracted HIV at age 13 through treatments to battle his hemophilia. Before his death in 1990, White earned worldwide recognition as an advocate for HIV/AIDS patients.